Mere months ago, the novel coronavirus—and the disease now known as COVID-19—didn’t exist. Yet in just the past few weeks alone their impact on our families, neighbors, and global community has been devastating.
What’s been remarkable to see during this extremely difficult time is the capacity that we have—regardless of our background or status—to step forward and lead. The creativity we’ve seen from people keeping communities together and maintaining social belonging has inspired us. The stories of hope, kindness, and selfless acts, and of neighborhoods and communities working together to care for each other and their most vulnerable, are stories of everyday people turned heroes stepping up to do what they can to help.
We are inspired by their ingenuity and creativity. But most of all, we are in awe of the compassion, generosity, bravery, and power of the human spirit that have emerged during this crisis. The sheer volume of stories is uplifting and we wanted to share a handful of them here.
Voices raised in song from the balconies of neighborhoods under lockdown throughout Italy and around the world are offering inspiration, encouragement, and a sense of connection. Others are helping to connect communities while encouraging safe distancing rules—like this man in Dublin who donned a mask, gloves, and a microphone to host “balcony bingo,” offering prizes for children (Easter eggs) and grown-ups (toilet paper, of course). In Mountain View, California, young artists are “bringing neighborhoods together, while keeping six feet apart” with chalk art. And in another Northern California town, neighbors come together each night at 8 p.m. to howl (yes, howl!) in solidarity for health-care workers. The phenomenon has been picked up in other parts of the United States as well (along with its own hashtag, #solidarityat8).
School bus drivers across the United States are delivering meals and offering hand waves of encouragement to children staying home from school, while teachers in a Missouri neighborhood organized a parade past students’ homes to lift spirits, as did these teachers and staff members from a Utah elementary school district.
In the UK, schools and charities are working together to care for schoolchildren in need of meals. Although schools in France are still closed, some have opened to care for children of key health-care workers on the front lines battling the pandemic.
And in the United States, a movement recently launched to help ensure children are learning and receiving nutritional meals while they’re out of school. The initiative, #savewithstories, enlists actors to share their favorite children’s stories and books on Instagram and Facebook to drive donations to nonprofits serving children.
Neighbors everywhere are coming together to do what they can for each other. Grocery stores around the world are modifying hours to accommodate seniors and others at risk in their communities. And we’re seeing many stories of kindness and bravery, like those of a Yale student in New York and a young woman in Bend, Oregon, who are doing chores for seniors and the vulnerable so that those folks may stay safely at home. And new features of the Nextdoor app—a neighborhood-based social media app available in North America and Europe—are designed to help neighbors support each other during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many musicians and musical artists have held free virtual or livestreamed concerts, including some experienced by our team here: Dropkick Murphys, Chris Martin, and the epic nine-hour quarantine party (#ClubQuarantine) thrown by DJ D-Nice that brought over 100,000 people together. Not only have these events entertained us, but they’ve sparked conversations and a feeling of solidarity in the comments section. Commenters are expressing gratitude while sharing their own experiences with the world, oftentimes including photos and videos of themselves dancing to parts of the livestreams.
And we’re sure that in every community around the world there are heroes like these nail salon owners—who are collecting and deploying masks and gloves for health-care workers—and this young man, who created technology to accurately track the pandemic in an effort to minimize panic.
Thank you to the heroes among us—many, many more than we could list here—who are demonstrating strength of character and showing us all that is good about the human spirit by stepping up with many imaginative and creative ways to help their fellow human beings.
Our hearts go out to those among us who are suffering and in need. You are in our thoughts and prayers. We’re all in this together.
We’d love to hear the stories inspiring you. If you have a moment, please share them below.